Menno Daams is one of the great trumpet players (arrangers, composers, bandleaders) of our era, but, better yet, he is a sensitive imaginer, someone who understands intuitively how to make even the most familiar standards glisten.
He does it here in his brief but very fulfilling tribute to Hoagy Carmichael at the 2016 Mike Durham Classic Jazz Party, with the help of five kindred spirits who get the feeling and never lose it: Josh Duffee, drums; Graham Hughes, string bass; Martin Wheatley, guitar; Richard Exall, tenor saxophone; David Boeddinghaus, piano. (And — consciously or unconsciously, perhaps because one thinks of Louis and Hoagy in the same moment — there are two lovely delicate slow-motion homages to Louis as well. You’ll hear them.)
For RIVERBOAT SHUFFLE, rather than go all the way back to Bix — with the Wolverines or with Trumbauer — Menno and band take what I would call a 1936 Fifty-Second Street approach to this song, with echoes of Berigan or Hackett, Forrest Crawford or Joe Marsala, Teddy Wilson or Joe Sullivan, Carmen Mastren, Sid Weiss, and Stan King — light-hearted yet potent):
A thoughtful, gentle exploration of LAZY RIVER:
Then, something gossamer yet imperishable, a medley of SKYLARK / STAR DUST that begins as a cornet-guitar duet, and then becomes a trio. But allow yourself to muse over David’s incredibly deep solo exposition:
And because we need a change from those subtle telling emotions, Menno offers an audio-visual comedy, then THANKSGIVING, featuring a rocking and rocketing solo by Josh. Appropriate, because I was thankful then and continue to be now:
Speaking of thanks, I owe some to the generous and expert Cine Devine, Rescuer Par Excellence and creator of fine jazz videos.
May your happiness increase!